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Boog

Tips on the ever popular turbo swap

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Hello everyone,

 

I posted a little while back about having recently buying a turbo donor car. It is pretty beat, rusted through and through from the rear forward, and is a terrific candidate. However, the turbo was seized on it and it was finicky when revved up, obviously haha. I have since shipped the turbo off to G Pop Shop for a rebuild, and since then have bolted up a T-bird T3 turbo to make sure the engine works. The engine is still a little off, but definitely better than with the original turbo. My questions for you guys are as follows:

 

1. The car i'm doing the swap in to, a 76 280z, has a very strong motor. It has a stage 3 ported head (N42), new head gasket, no smoke, no oil burning, etc. It is a very strong motor. I would love to use the current block/head for my turbo setup. I realize the compression is 8.3:1, up a bit from the turbo compression with the p90A head. I read that with stock boost this should not be an issue, even up to 9-10 lbs. I obviously favor the N42 because of the work that has been done to it professionally, in addition to the long term reliability over the hydraulic lifters, should something go wrong. Will I be ok with an N42 head?

 

2. The second reason as to why I want to go this route is that I do not have an engine hoist, nor the time currently to go with a full engine transplant. Could I simply take the turbo exhaust manifold, turbo, ecu, injectors, coil, wiring, afm, dizzy, etc and plop it on my current engine? I know some people look down upon this route as being a "backyard turbo creation", but I feel that given the currently questionable state of my turbo motor, this is a viable and smart route for creating the strongest engine combination. 

 

3. My last question is regarding the oil pan. Obviously my current engine does not have a return location for the turbo. Would it be better to remove the current oil pan and tap it with a new drain, or swap it from the turbo block? I have heard and read that removing the pan from a s30 is doable without lifting the engine, whereas the s130 pan removal is near impossible, even sometimes with unbolting the engine and jacking it into the tranny tunnel. 

 

Sorry for the book I just wrote, I'm honestly just a little in over my head on something I am sure I will look back on as being relatively simple. As always, thanks to you all for your ever present help!

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Your '76 engine is fine for turbocharging.  Factory ZXT stuff will bolt on, and work fine, but I suspect the intake and exhaust ports will not match perfectly (doesn't the N42 have round exhaust ports, the turbo head has square ports...?).  You will have to remove the pan to install the drain, so either swap it or modify your existing pan; equally easy.  It is removable with the engine in, but you might have to lift the engine off the mounts a little bit. 

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I've done it many times, you can remove an oil pan from a S30 without lifting the engine. It is quite easy, you just have to tilt the pan in many directions without brute force to pull it out.

N42 should have some square port but I believe there are some exceptions with some heads from Japan. If the head is the stock unit coming from your 280Z, you should be fine.

Edited by Lazeum

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Boog, If im not mistaken you can lower the zx crossmemeber for easier pan removal if needed. Then jack the crossmember back up into place. Been a while since i have done work on a zx.

 

And yes to your earlier post, you swap all of your turbo parts into the 76.

 

Backyard Turbo???...  Remember this is your car do with it what you want. A few of my co-workers told me i couldn't turbo my N/A engine with turbo parts and the stock N/A harness. I did that. A few years later, they said i couldnt buy a low cost standalone for my car, I did that too. Megasquirt. Now they are saying i can't put a 2jz engine in my 260Z. Guess whats happening in October. :o)

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I recently did an l28et swap into my car, before the swap it had an l28 with N42 head/block i mocked up bits from the turbo motor and all bolted up as if it was the turbo motor.
 
1. yes you will be fine with your N42 head. Head work and turbo's go hand and hand,you should yield better power results then if you had a stock head. Tuning will always play a factor as well.

 

2. if you're going to use the turbo distributor don't forget to swap out the oil pump/distributor shaft from the turbo motor, this is a must if you want to use the turbo distributor. the swap is rather straight forward just be sure to make sure everything is lined up when installing.  If your going to be doing that I do recommened swaping over the turbo oil pump as well if its in decent shape, if not a new one couldn't hurt.

 

3. if you swap over the turbo oil pan I think you may need to swap over the oil pick up tube as well but I could be wrong on this. The turbo Guru's could help us with that one.

 

     This Forum is all about "Backyard Creations" but remember "BackYard" and "Half Assed" are two completley different things. Ive seen some really nice Builds come from people's own garages and Backyards,just take your time and do as much research before you go do anything, this will save you both time and money.

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Thanks for the info on the oil pans. I figured my ported head will be better than stock due to the flow, I was mostly concerned about the compression. 

 

I am really debating on what to do. I don't think my turbo will be back rebuilt by the time I have to head off to school 4 hours away, and I really can't keep this turbo z in my garage until winter......I would love to just pull all the parts I need off it for the turbo conversion, part out the good stuff to the forum, then sell whats left to the junkyard. My problem is I am afraid I am going to miss a piece. I know its really useful to have the donor car right there when you do it, so you can just pull parts you need as you go, but that really is not an option. I'm kind of screwed on garage space right now.....

 

As for the oil pan situation, I think I'll just grab a buddy and get it out from the zx, I don't want to try and mod my current one when I can stick with the stock setup. 

 

Right now I'm wishing there was a list of every little piece needed for the turbo conversion, but I suppose nobody has the same plan and needed parts.....

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Depending on your disposition of the donor car, a single 4x4, two long eye bolts, some chain and quick links is all you need to do just about anything you want underneath that ZX Engine. as I recall, the ZX hood is 28" wide... So cutting an 8' 4x4 will allow you to make one beam, and four little cribbers of just under a foot in length.

 

Lay two cribbers on each fender by the strut tower lengthwise, and the beam centered on them cross the engine bay.

 

Use a washer on a string to determine "straight above" the engine mounts and drill a hole through the 4x4. Stick your 6" eyebolt (or hook) and use a large washer on top with a bolt. Get the bolt started so two threads are showing....

 

Drop some 5/15" chain down from the hook to between the engine mounts, and stick an M8 bolt through the chain....should be long enough to catch on both rails of the engine mount...or you can loop the chain around the mount and bolt it above like a basket using bolt and washer or quick link.

 

Then tighten the nuts till the slack is out of the chain...loosen the engine bolts, and then tighten the nuts on the 4x4 and up the engine comes! Ready to sit there suspended for the next 20 years....if necessary!

 

You can drop the crossmember, pull the pan, drop whatever you want! Nice way to rehab the steering components without pulling the motor.

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The turbo oil supply line was available new....if you use a stock turbo, just buy a new one and screw it into your adapter from the Turbo motor (screws into the oil pressure sender)

 

Otherwise, used that adapter to service as a supply point using a -3 SS braided line, restrictor, and appropriate adapter to feed your new turbo with oil.

 

Take a look on e-bay, there is an outfit in Diamond Bar CA that makes nice turbo fitting kits for reasonable prices, both for the stock, and some aftermarket units. I think I bought one for an SR20 GT30 or 35R it had all the feed, drain, and water fittings (banjo to AN adapters, and oil feed line) I just needed a longer oil feed line for the L6 opposed to the L4.

 

Their oil drain fitting for the NA oil pan is kinda slick. For the life of me I can't remember their name. It was a red dragon mask logo, something like ikumazumi or something...

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Kunigawa, and "authentic-boosting" out of West Covina...

 

Example below:

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/151387726616

 

I was happy with the quality of all three kits I bought from them. For the bits and bobs to connect a turbo it's nice stuff.

It's what is on my Suzuki Every Turbo now, in fact! Their full kit was cheaper than getting my locally made turbo supply line made in The Philippines!

 

Poke around, they have full fitting kits for T3, TO4, GT-Series, and application specific stuff as well. This link is just an example of pricing and to get the vendor information.

 

Cheers, good luck!

Edited by Tony D

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If that was you who just called me (206 area code) I never say more than one "Hello"...just start talking and I'll reciprocate.

 

If it wasn't you, then it was just another damnable Wood Pill Hawker and I've added them to my block list!.

 

 

If you heat the copper gaskets with a crack pipe torch till,they're red hot and dump,them in water they will be annealed again and dead soft for re-use.

 

I'm all about cheap!

 

I didn't mention nailing the boards together...do I really need to include those details with this group? I figured no...but thought some guys do cruise several boards so no telling what idiot will read this and...

Edited by Tony D

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8.3:1 SCR is LOW compression to me, far too low for even turbo engines IMO, with today's technology.

 

I just swapped out my turbo L28 for a completely different engine earlier this month. It was a flat top L28 (F54/P90), that I have BEAT on for the last 6 years, with upwards of 20 PSIG of boost. For those keeping track, that's 8.8:1 stock SCR, and it worked just fine.

 

Stock (N/A) oiling system, I modified my oil pan, but if I had the turbo oil pan, I would have just swapped it on.

 

I was (and still am) using a Delco ECM (From a late '80's/early '90's Sunbird or Syclone/Typhoon) and some custom code.

 

The "trick" to keeping your turbo'd engine is alive is not so much the hard parts (they do factor in), but more so how it's tuned. You can have all of the best of the best parts on an engine, but if it's tuned poorly, it won't last. On the flip side, you can use junkyard parts, and OEM parts with a good tune (How I do things most of the time), and have engines live for a long time with many hard and abused miles.

 

FWIW, my new engine has 9.8:1 SCR, yes, nine point eight to one SCR, is bone stock (other than valve springs) and so far I've been running about 10 PSIG on it, with plans to go quite a bit more. I don't have a direct comparison of flow numbers for both engines at these boost levels, but as it is, I can guarantee that I'm moving more air now with less boost on this new engine compared to my turbo L28 with much more boost. I'm running a GM V6 now, so it's not a great comparison, but my point is that compression ratios are nearly irrelevant any more when it comes to turbocharging engines. There are other factors that have greater influence on how well and engine will survive with boost. Using low compression was an old way to combat pre-ignition when the combustion chamber design and fuel and spark controlling technologies were no where near what they are today. 

 

Even with the old combustion chamber and port design that the L28 has, you can still run plenty of boost for some great fun, as long as the fuel and timing are well controlled, of which there are many options out there for this.

Edited by Six_Shooter

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I'm using the kunigawa oil feed

line on my car, its been good so far and for the price I can't complain either.

 

 

Are you guys talking about the oil feed from the engine to the turbo?

 

Why not just grab some 1/4" brake line and bend it up yourself? 

 

On previous engines I've used Teflon braided line (like Earls/Russel/Aeroquip sell), but used 1/4" brake line on my L28, because I was running the line under and very near the exhaust manifold, and while I've never had a problem with the teflon braided lines meting I didn't want to take that chance and used teh hard line that I new would survive just fine. I used 1/4" brake line on my new engine, because I wanted a certain look to the install, where I used as little braided line as possible.

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Hey everyone, I wanted to give an update on the turbo setup. I plan on pretty much following a method messaged to me by Dexter72 (thanks again!) until I can get a standalone setup ready to swap in. The method will be stock ECU, stock AFM, just drop the manifold, turbo, oil lines, and injectors on the car and go for it with locked mechanical advance. So far I have had the turbo professionally rebuilt, the exhaust manifold has been pressure washed, degreased, and wrapped as much as I could given its shape. I also kept my eye out for one of those intake pipes you mentioned and managed to snag one, it is sitting in some soapy water as I type. I also have all my turbo injectors, but they are still in the manifold they came with. I have some research bookmarked on locking the distributor, I am still deciding on which method seems more reliable. I also have a shopping cart ready to order all my gaskets and o rings. I am planning on pulling the pan and taking it to a shop to get the return line bung welded on. My plan is AN fittings for the return line as I figure that will be most upgradable in the future. I have a cone intake I plan on using, even though the stock intake would work. I'm actually still debating using it as I type as well, haha. I bought a turbo downpipe from MSA and it should work well. Exhaust shop is picked out and I have a quote. Everything seems almost ready for December, when I am doing the swap. Oh, I also have a Warlboro 255(?) to throw on there, I figured it wouldn't hurt, got it from a friend for helping him move garages.  Is there anything else I am missing? I have my feed line as well.....Thanks for all you guys help over this build, this community has been a terrific resource. 

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